Those plans are now up in the air amid internal scrutiny over whether it makes sense to build two distinct Passat sedans on the MQB platform -- one for the U.S. and China, and another for Europe and the rest of the world.
According to a source with knowledge of the plans, the leading option is to delay the U.S. launch of the next-generation Passat sedan, likely until 2020 or 2021, to align it with the redesigned global Passat.
Dave Sullivan, an analyst with consultancy AutoPacific Inc., expects other product launches and investments will be delayed or postponed as VW absorbs scandal-related costs.
"That's just the fallout of a lot of money that would have been spent on product development being moved to pay for unforeseen expenses that came in higher than anticipated," he said. "When there are unforeseen costs mounting ... that's the one thing where you can cut back."
One area where VW appears to be accelerating its plans is EV development.
The VW brand's North America chief, Hinrich Woebcken, has said VW plans to launch multiple EVs in the U.S. starting in 2020 and start producing EVs in North America as well.
Audi has ambitious electrification plans, too. A battery-electric crossover based on the e-tron Quattro concept arrives in 2018, followed by plug-in hybrid variants of the new Q8 debuting in 2019 and the next-generation A6 and A7 sedans.
The EV push reflects toughening fuel economy and greenhouse-gas emissions rules and California's zero-emission vehicle mandate, as well as VW's effort to make amends for cheating on diesel tests. VW is required to spend $2 billion in EV-related projects under the terms of its consent order with U.S. officials to resolve some of the violations related to its 2.0-liter diesel engines.
It also comes as part of a broad refocusing of the VW brand in the United States. In July, Woebcken said a plan for the VW brand in 2025 in the U.S. is largely complete and will be announced in greater detail this fall. He said VW will focus on competing with mainstream players in key, high-volume segments, namely midsize and compact cars and crossovers.
At the same time, Woebcken hopes to sell vehicles in other segments where VW can command a premium.
"There are products and segments where we simply have to face the reality of the market, and there are segments where we have an opportunity to gain a better price position than the mass market," he said.
The overall goal, Woebcken said, is to make it so VW "is not seen as a niche player anymore."